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Friday, October 18, 2013

Windows 7: A multi-profile, concurrently accessible RDP host? Hypothetically...

Say there was a geek in a hypothetical IT lab situation that discovered how to enable Windows 7 as a concurrently multi-user RDP host. A user density of 7 per virtual desktop is the goal. Said geek had enough Windows 7 licenses to cover each user instance connected to a host, but wonders... 

Is this skirting a hard EULA violation worthy of vendor wrath? If a lab discovers how to make this work, could said shop cover the additional profiles on a single machine using CALs vs full Windows 7 licenses going forward?

What does the EULA for  Windows 7 Pro say about all this witchcraft?

From Section 3 

f. Device Connections. You may allow up to 20 other devices to access software installed on the licensed computer to use only File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services and Internet Connection Sharing and Telephony Services.
g. Remote Access Technologies. You may access and use the software installed on the licensed computer remotely from another device using remote access technologies as follows:
· Remote Desktop. The single primary user of the licensed computer may access a session from any other device using Remote Desktop or similar technologies. A “session” means the experience of interacting with the software, directly or indirectly, through any combination of input, output and display peripherals. Other users may access a session from any device using these technologies, if the remote device is separately licensed to run the software.
· Other Access Technologies. You may use Remote Assistance or similar technologies to share an active session.
Also figure into the equation that all end-point RD guest kiosks will be running as Windows 7 ThinPCs, and the hypothetical shop has the Software Assurance to migrate the full OS to a virtual machine.

Pondering this frankensteining of the go-to desktop for this shop, questions begin to arise.
  • Why would a lab even go down this road? 
  • Why not just go the straight route and get CALs on Server 2008? 
  • Is Server 2008 overkill for the desktop experience? 
  • Can 7 be to Server 2008 what ThinPC is to 7, in the context of simplified, stripped down multi-user virtual desktop hosting roles? 
  • Does the Remote Desktop/Other Users feature of this agreement validate the course taken by this mad scientist?
To that last question, hypothetically, yes.

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